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BUILD GUIDE: Welcome to supporting! by Evayr

by Evayr (last updated 10 months ago)

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Introduction

First of all: This guide is still in progress for Season 4. Sections like tips for specific champions are missing for now but will come back later.

Introduction: What does a support do anyway?

Even though supporting is one of the least favorite role in the League, it's by far not the least important role. As a support your goal early game is to get your AD carry either farmed or fed. This usually gets achieved with tier 1 support champions.

Getting your AD fed isn't enough though, you will also need to get enough vision on the map so you can do objectives (like dragon or counter-jungling) more effective. It's also nice to have vision to see ganks coming and eventually save your life. I will be discussing about good warding spots and how to pull some tricks off with them.

And at last, I will be discussing how to win your lane by (for example) zoning your opponents, counter-gank, special notes for certain champions and how to harass effectively.

(This guide was previously called "The Supportive support guide")

Runes

Default page for tanky champions like Thresh and Leona. I take hybrid pen because supports usually have high base damage and the extra damage is always nice to get snowballing.

Masteries

mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 2/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 2/3
mastery 4 2/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
14 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
16 Utility

Summoner Sets

Flash & Ignite
Mainly for kill lanes / going aggressive. If they have assassins you might want to consider taking exhaust instead. If you want to snowball your lane, take ignite for maximum kill potential. Also, this spell is really good to prevent champions' lifestealing, healing and regeneration.

Recommended against: Mundo, Vladimir, Soraka

Pros:
  • Highly effective for snowballing your lane
  • Reduces healing, lifestealing, regeneration
  • True damage scaling on champion level
  • Only its damage is cleansable

Cons:
  • Doesn't work defensively
  • When behind, the damage isn't reliable
Flash & Exhaust
Really good defensive and offensive spell, but deals no damage. If you need damage to secure the kill take ignite. This spell is usually is to disable an enemy for a short time so you can concentrate your focus without getting chunked down. Really good early game to pick off the support and temporarily disable their Marksman.

Recommended against: Assassins

Pros:
  • Extra CC
  • Stops assassins their burst

Cons:
  • Bad when you want to snowball your lane
  • Cleansable
Flash & Heal
You don't see it a lot, but it's not really bad either. It's really good against AoE damage teams. Once the team pops all their AoE (or during the popping), you can easily use heal to turn the fight. This works on bot lane as well. Since nobody is really focused on seeing heal you might get some interesting turnarounds in fights - or nice saves.

Pros:
  • Good for turning fights
  • Might save lives

Cons:
  • High cooldown
  • Doesn't provide lane presence

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Default Starting Build
2
2
Basically you start with a Doran's Shield so you can put pressure early game and try to get kills (who don't need mana regen either). When going passive, get Ancient Coin to get your income rolling.

Recommended champions for Doran's Shield start: Thresh, Leona
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
Build Order
2
Start: Doran's Shield OR Ancient Coin (read starting items for reasoning)
Towards mid game: Get the stat components for mid game to keep fighting (hence not upgrading ruby to sightstone)

REPLACE YOUR TRINKET AFTER BUYING SIGHTSTONE
Sightstone has no more limit since season 4, so you can still place 3 wards at the same time with just your sightstone.

Mid game: Usually, Sunfire Cape is really good to take as a first item. when they have a lot of AP though, get either Spirit Visage or Banshee's Veil first. Getting a Giant's Belt early makes you tanky so you can initiate.

Tier list

Evayr's tier list
Updated patch 3.15

God tier:
  • Annie
  • Thresh

Tier 1:
  • Karma
  • Elise
  • Leona

Tier 2
  • Taric
  • Lulu
  • Sona
  • Alistar
  • Blitzcrank
  • Zilean
  • Nami

Tier 3:
  • Nunu
  • Zyra (Really needs some buffs)
  • Janna
  • Soraka

Warding

Warding

[http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/250x250/20223776.jpg]


Get. Wards. Even if you're not playing support.

I've made a quick map locating where to ward effectively:
[http://imgur.com/oMm9Frl.jpg]
The map has 3 overlay colors: Green, Orange and Red. Each of them describes where to ward based on how far you're pushing them.

A trick to ward Baron while being purple behind the wall:
[http://i.imgur.com/AaegXzp.jpg]

This spot is especially good against vision wards. Usually their team will have oracle's Elixer when they're winning though, but if they aren't winning this will counter vision wards very effectively. They also won't see you warding there because of your location.

You can see on the minimap that I'm putting my wards inside the dragon and baron pit.
[http://i.imgur.com/lecjA65.jpg]

Warding in the pit behind walls is to counter vision wards. Of course I bring my own vision ward (or oracle) when we want to do Dragon or Baron. It's a temporary counter where you can see the Health of D/B as well. Best of all: They won't have a clue you can see them so steal / engage all the away!

Time their wards!
Timing wards makes it so much easier for you and the jungler to know when to gank. Just call things like "river 6 03" and "tri 7 15" and the jungler knows either to continue grinding Experience or come via lane/tribush.

You can see without CV where they've warded. Examples:
[http://i.imgur.com/NuSYso0.jpg]

The support clearly came from Tribrush since it is hugging the wall.

[http://i.imgur.com/50bHQ2X.jpg]

The support came from dragon this time since she's in the middle of the river when walking back (the brush counts as dragon as well).

Go 'Silent Warding'!
'Silent Warding' is another trick I discovered. If you ward the brush you're in and you weren't revealed while doing that, the opponent won't see you've placed a ward there. This is such a big advantage when you're playing supports like Leona and Thresh because the element of surprise (and presence) still is active.

Go Silent Warding when you know the minion flow will force you out the brush (this is usually when their support starts invading your brush). Do it a few seconds before you have to leave or else they can still see the ward when they walk in (the ward is still a few seconds visible before going invisible as you know).

Discover wards
You can discover if they have a ward in the brush by trying to attract the next minion wave. You basically stand as far as possible in the brush and wait if minions start moving to you. This is recommended if your jungler wants to gank your lane. If you're sure it's not warded, don't try to stand in the brush so they won't ward it.

Laning phase

Laning phase
The most important phase when looking at building up. Every mistake can be crucial of losing the lane. There are several things you will need to take care of:
  • Keeping stustain: If you AD (or you) are low on either health or mana (and they're not), you just cannot play agressive. You can try to zone the opponents but cannot force a fight.

  • Having wards up: I think this should be clear why. Do keep in mind that the jungler still can come via the lane, so don't hesitate to often put a ward in the lane brush as well. When warding, think of the 'Silent Warding' trick. When they don't know it has been warded they're wasting time and exp.

  • Showing presence: This is so important when playing aggressive champions. If you fail to zone them let them push, because when you engage they have a long way to go back to their beloved turret. Remember: In early game, Support > Marksman.

Starting Doran's Shield helps a lot as well to show presence because they won't be able to poke you out anymore. Starting Ancient Coin makes you squishier and forces you to play more passive. Economically, this is the safest and most secure choice. In case you want to snowball, it's a bad idea to start Ancient Coin.

If you succeed at zoning make sure they cannot reach any CS, or even better any experience at all. Make sure though you've warded the river/tribrush so you know you can't get backstabbed doing this.

  • Knowing when to initiate: Keep the silent warding trick in mind, it can help so much with initiating. Skills like condemn and a headbutt against the wall work really well when initiating. Don't forget your summoner spells as well.

Also keep an eye on their positioning. If they get chased down by minions it's a good moment to initiate on them since the minion damage is high early game.

  • Pushing your lane: I usually do this when we are sure we can win the 2v2 fights, when they are roaming, they have gone back to base, we want them to miss CS or when we need to go back. I'm telling the carry to push as well.
Do keep in mind they have a jungler and their mid (or even top teleport) might come for a gank. Make sure when you're pushing you always have wards up. It's also smart to ward Dragon AND tri-brush when your AD carry is fed as well.

  • Trades/Harassing: If you're a sustainy / tanky support you're willing to force trades with the opposing team.
If you can win trades you're most likely to zone them and eventually give them a lack of CS and experience. When harassing, ALWAYS try to harass their ADC. The support will get their income anyhow - the ADC has to work for it.

If you see their AD going for a CS kill, feel free to harass the AD like Soraka's banana attack.
If you see their minion wave is nearly gone and your wave still has some minions, you can consider engaging. Do keep in mind their jungler could be around as well. Do not engage when you can't win trades or you or your carry's health/mana is low compared to theirs.

  • CSing at the tower: Your AD carry will have a harder time farming at the tower because of the turret aggro. To help your carry out, look at the minions HP and often attack them to get them that low that either the turret barely won't kill it or your AD can kill it easily.

If you are getting good at this, you'll notice that your AD will not or will get little behind CS because you've helped him a lot under the turret. This could make the difference when both AD carries are buying items.

Melee minions need three turret hits and barely survive two, so it's best to leave them unless your AD or allied minions have harassed that fighter minion.
Caster minions (ranged) need two turret hits and pretty much survive one turret hit. It's smart to auto-attack the caster minion once under tower early game so your AD carry can get them with ease.

Keep in mind that you are mainly attacking the minion who is getting tower aggro, since that is mainly the best option to help out your AD carry.

  • Fighting: When a fight starts, make sure you and your Marksman focus the same target if you're willing to fight as well. I've lost many lanes because of this lack of synergy. It's way easier to do this when you're communicating via a third-party program like Skype or TeamSpeak. Pinging helps as well.
It's recommended to focus their Marksman because they have to farm for their money while their supports will regenerate it anyway.

Some lane combo recommendations:
  • Annie + Draven: Insane ham for early game. Works really good to get a kill at level 2. Start Q as Annie so you can poke them down for the level 2 cheese.
  • Blitzcrank/Taric/Alistar + Caitlyn: This combo is good for lane control. Push lane, poke them down, initiate when they're low. Weak versus all-inners like Leona.
  • Thresh/Leona + Jinx: Enormous lane presence, a lot of kill potential throughout the early game at levels 2, 3 and 6.

Team fights

Team fights
Time to kick some butts. If everything worked well your AD carry could have a lot of farm (depends if (s)he's a good farmer) and perhaps some kills as well. You items are ready to use and summoners just came from cooldown. It's time to win the fight.

You still have a lot of influence in the teamfight. Here are a few ways to win a fight:
  • Make sure you've warded the brushes around you where the fight will be held. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to attack your target because you can't see it.
If you have Clairvoyance, make sure to disable as many brushes as you can as soon as the fight starts.

  • Don't forget to use your summoners (like exhaust). Really, if you do forget them they can burst, lifesteal or your team can get AoE'd. Their team will crush you. This also count for actives of items like Locket of the Iron Solari and Randuin's Omen.

  • Do your thing and get out.
If you're an initiator, try to get in, blow your cooldowns when necessary and get out of the fight to wait for your cooldowns unless you're willing to soak damage.
Keep an eye on your Marksman / AP Carry though (whoever deals the most damage). If you know they will get bursted when you're frontlining, you should consider going back to the backline to peel.

  • Ping enemies who should be focussed. This usually is either their AD or AP carry since they build for dealing damage. Pinging them make your team realize they shouldn't waste their abilities on a random Amumu or any other tanky person. Do this before the team fight starts so it's clear for your team.

Stream

I often might be streaming, stay tuned. You can also watch some VoD's like my Ranked 5 games:

Stream link: http://www.Twitch.tv/Evayr

In my stream I'll try to explain my steps in supporting, what I've done well and wrong and what I could've done instead. You can ask questions while I'm streaming as well!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!
I'm always open for feedback and questions on my guide. I shall try to keep this as updated as possible.

I've mostly written this guide from personal experience from the games I've played on bot lane as support. My friend list is pretty much full right now, but you can try to add me if you want (Evayr (on EUW)). You do can PM me if you really want to add me for reasons like spectating, etc. Please say Hi after adding me and explain you've added me because of this guide. It's pretty weird to see someone adding you without even knowing why. ;-)

I do can understand you have any questions like who to pick and counter-pick. Try to focus on at least three different champions. Look at the tier list for which are recommended. These champions vary from passive to aggressive with their own style to play. It's always good to get a good feel of what you can and can't do with the champions you're maining so you won't take unnecessary risks.

Again, thanks for reading. Feedback, likes and comments are appreciated. Hope to see you in-game :)

- Ivar / Evayr

Changelog

Latest edits:

2013
July:
13th of July: Edited runepages after a review of fluumis (support of GameHoppers.EU)
22nd of July: Grammar. And yay, Sona got buffed again!
24th of July: Updated Sona laning in laning chart
30th of July: Added Nunu to special tips
31st of July: Fixed the description error of Zeke's Herald

August:
1st of August: Nunu counter-jungling tips added. Also added Nunu for possible CV-Exhaust combo champion.
2nd of August: Added a Blitzcrank tip (Burning your ult when clearing Baron wards)
4th of August: Updated Leona her starting items, added tips for her, updated Nunu tips, changed boots decision at Item Builds. Also updated laning chart, especially on the Nunu part.
5th of August: Clarified the picking chart better. Also updated the counter-picking part of the chart.
8th of August: Added Soul Shroud as possible item build. Video added as well!
9th of August: Considered buying Heart of Gold first at item builds with reasons. Added some info as well about farming under the tower and pushing your lane.
10th of August: Updated Soul Shroud info.
12th of August: Added Lulu tips
13th of August: Updated starting item info
24th of August: Giving lessons now! Add me on LoL (Evayr on EU-W) or Skype (Evayrr) for more info

September:
9th of September: Added Zyra as possible supports
19th of September: Added carry tips at Solo Queue chapter, updates starting items and rewritten the Zyra part as possible support.

October:
3rd of October: Added Mejais Soulstealer as core item and snowball item. (Wait what? Well, just read it. It has potential.)
15th of October: Added Malphite as possible support.
26th of October: Added Damage Support pages, updated the Mejais part.

November:
6th of November: Improved the tips for Soraka, solo queue and "troll" picks.
18th of November: Added Darius as "troll" support.
21st of November: Updated Darius tips.

December:
4th of December: Added Syndra as possible support.
5th of December: Woo! S3 Pre-season patch with all the news items and such!
6th of December: Updated tips on Nautilus support since he was lost and forgotten.
7th of December: Added the items Twin Shadows, Banner of Command and Captain at the item builds chapter
8th of December: Added Nami tips! See chapter 'Special Notes', added Mikael's Crucible as well at the Item Builds section
9th of December: Whoops, Darius still had Heart of Gold as recommendation and had S2 masteries. Fixed.
13th of December: Added Teleport at the summoner spells chapter. I think it has enough potential to put it there.
22nd of December: Edited starting items (added Rejuvenation Bead since some supports are better with it lvl 1), fixed the core items at Item Builds. Also added Maokai as possible supports.
25th of December: Updated Shard of True Ice details (it does NOT grant assists), made the starting items more clear and added more tips and information at the Core Items section. Oh, merry x-mas/happy holidays of course!

---
2013

Januari:
4th: Updates starting items and starting build paths. Happy new year of course!
6th: Started to use highlighting. Was about time.
15th: Added Zyra tips. I might make a guide about Zyra if you want - just tell me in the comments
16th: Added the Janna tip about interruption lainuz told me about in the comments. I've experienced it in ranked and yes, it's definitely worth noting that. Thanks!
18th: Updated the chart with which champs works good with X Ad and good vs Y AD. If you can't see the new version, try Control+F5'ing a few times. (Please note that this chart can never be perfect since the meta will always change. At least this gives a general idea what has a bit synergy with who.)
19th: Updated tips for Cow.

Februari:
5th: Added Jarvan IV as possible supports with a lot of tips, a nifty trick and my personal item build.
6th: General update for the guide; Added more highlights (more TL;DR friendly now), changed starting items again. Will be adding Thresh soon.
8th: Added tips for Thresh as promised.
10th: Added new starting item strategy at the Item Builds chapter. Also updated the rune and mastery pages. If you see the old pages (no biscuiteer), try Ctrl-F5'ing a few times (refreshes the cache of the page).
17th: 100k views! Thanks a lot!
19th: Quick little edits like fixing grammar.
26th: Fixed the rune description of the 'Roaming/Movement Support' pages. Also, I won't be accepting friend requests anymore since my friend list has reached its limit. If you really want to add me, simply sent a PM and I'll make an exception.

March:
1st: Added Doran's Shield as suggestion at the starting items (when building towards mid-lane). Added Fiddlesticks as well at 'Funny Picks'.
10th: Added a lot more tips for Thresh
27th: Added a new page (Early Game Dominance). Inspired by Krepo, find it working really well to get the snowballing started. Also updated the info on the summoner Ignite.
29th: 250k views! You guys are awesome!

April:
16th: Added Elise as possible supports, edited description of summoner spell Heal and possibly pick Jarvan IV (E only grants armor to self now). Also removed the [S3] tag from the title. Looking into streaming as well! Also added my Twitter! I'll put more info there about streaming: http://Twitter.com/IvarEvayr
27th: Added the Fortitude pot start at the Item builds chapter. I'll pause streaming until I have a new PC. It's really unbearable. With my new PC I will be able to stream in 1080p.

May:
13th: Changed tips for Beep boop.
29th: Whoops, apparently I still recommended HoG for Malphite. Also, 500k views! Thanks a lot!

2014
January:
10th: Updated my guide for S4 (still needs a lot of work, but I'm getting there)
11th: A few more updates... slowly getting there
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